For my birthday this year, Kevin and I embarked on a road trip. Living on the east coast my entire life has made me completely lust after the Pacific. I figured a road trip is a great, quick way to start checking off spots on my bucket list, as well as revisiting some of the places I wanted to explore more in depth.
First things first. Planning this bad boy was a little disorienting in the beginning. The BEST tool I can recommend for a road trip is the app InRoute. (This is not sponsored) I highly suggest purchasing the full version to further relieve you of stress. The app is identical to Apple Maps and lets you pin multiple locations along the route, THEN it allows you to optimize the list, and organizes the locations in order to give you the most efficient route. This way you’re not doing any backtracking and the places you want to visit are laid out in front of you. This simplifies so much! Especially when you’re taking detours or running around a big unfamiliar city.
So we hopped on a flight to San Francisco, rented a car and got on our way.
We climbed a bunch of stairs to visit Twin Peaks. It was one of the most breathtaking views of the city.
We walked through Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies. The significance of these houses is that the Victorian architectural detail is enhanced by being painted with three or more colors. They are truly beautiful!
Made a point to drop by the Palace of Fine Arts just to admire the structure!
We strolled by the Cliff House to get a panoramic view of the coast and Land’s End, then had to do some serious hiking from there to find this local gem. 100+ stair steps later, we finally walked back to the coast to find the Labyrinth. Eduardo Aguilera created this in 2004, and in spite of it being ruined a couple times since then, he continues to make sure it remains! He dedicated it to “peace, love and enlightenment”.
Tucked away in the woods is also the Spire by Andy Goldsworthy.
We visited the outer edge of Fort Point to watch the sunset fade around the Golden Gate Bridge.
The next morning we stopped at Home for coffee. There are multiple locations around San Fran, and they have not only DELICIOUS coffee but super fun flavors. and they’re aesthetically pleasing. We got red velvet and birthday cake!
+Cypress Tree Tunnel
About an hour north of SF, and totally in the middle of nowhere, is an amazing little spot where cypress trees line up to create a natural tunnel. It literally looks like the entrance to a fairy tale!
+Highway 101 (North California)
Highway 101 follows the coast for the most part and is easily one of the most mesmerizing scenic roads I’ve witnessed. The cliffs are rugged and watching the waves crash against the rocks is so beautiful. There are tons of pull-offs to stop and enjoy the jaw-dropping view.
This small beach area is located near Fort Bragg, California in MacKerricher State Park. The sand is mixed with tons of pieces of soft sea glass that was created from garbage dumping near the coast over the years.
+Redwood National Forest
Visiting the redwoods has always been a dream of mine. First, we stopped at the Chandelier Tree, a 276 ft tall drive-thru tree that just barely let our SUV through. The hole is 6 ft wide and 6’9″ high…and I mean we made it through with about an inch on each side (mirrors tucked in). The next early morning we walked a trail through Lady Bird Johnson Grove, 1000 ft above sea level.
Somewhere on the Cali coast we camped out in Mckinleyville. It was far away from the big cities and the stars were beautifully visible. We could still catch a glimpse of the tail end of the Milky Way!
+Umpqua National Forest
Our first stop in Oregon was Umpqua Hot Springs! Another one checked off my bucket list. We hiked up the mountain and there are multiple pools lined down the cliff. I hopped right in- it was just like being in a jacuzzi. If you look over the edge of the pool you can see a creek rushing through the trees down below. It was such a relaxing moment, and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
We didn’t spend much time in Portland, aside from grabbing a snack from Voodoo Doughnuts and a cup of coffee from two different places: Good Coffee + Deadstock Coffee. Deadstock was awesome for any sneakerhead. They topped the latte’s with different sneaker designs- everything from Retro 1’s to Foamposites.
Right near the Space Needle is a little park that gives you a perfect view.
Molly Moo’s is an infamous ice cream shop located all around Seattle. They have so many fun and unique flavors- aside from the fact the cones are enormous. I got cookie dough and honey lavender with sprinkles.
Seattle Central Public Library is an essential! It’s not only huge, but once you reach the top floor there is a lookout where you can see straight through the streets into the city.
Chihuly Garden and Glass was an amazing art exhibit…so much talent and beauty clearly went into creating these hand-blown glass creations.
Once in twenty years the gum wall had been pressure washed…….two weeks before we visited. Luckily they were nice enough to leave this heart-shaped area that probably contained saliva from all over the world.
Two museums we visited were the Pop Culture Museum and the Seattle Art Museum.
Hiding under the overpass of Troll Ave is the 18 ft Fremont Troll sculpture. He’s holding a VW and his eye is actually made out of a hubcap.